Hybrid cars: some online resources
There are many websites dedicated to informing potential buyers of hybrid cars and giving tools such as discussion forums, databases to track fuel efficiency, etc, to people who already own one. We've already mentioned HybridCars.com last autumn, but a few other sites are worthy of note: GreenHybrid.com has many interesting features including a "real world mileage database" compiled from the site readers' data, a section where you can learn the basics about hybrid cars and read some more detailed articles about particular models, and a moderately active discussion forum (the most active probably is PriusChat.com).The other website that we'll mention today was created by the good people at the Union of Concerned Scientists. It can be found at HybridCenter.org and contains lots of things useful to a first-time buyer of a hybrid car: The Consumer Center contains a buyer's guide, comparison chart and reviews, and the Tech Center contains info about what's "under the hood" of a hybrid. Another interesting feature is the HybridBlog which is updated fairly regularly.
Something we would like to see is a way for owners of hybrid cars to send feedback en masse to carmakers about what works, what doesn't and how to improve things. These websites are most certainly the main hub where hybrid car drivers of the world converge, so it would be a good idea to harness their collective experience and use it to form a list of recommendations to Toyota/Honda/Ford/etc. It would certainly have a better chance to be heard than individual letters and be more representative than what the horsepower-obsessed automobile press writes.